Thursday, July 16, 2009

Let the Real Fun Begin - By Kevin

The adventure continues, or maybe it’s just begun. After six days of travel, we reached Dawson City, BC and the start of the Alaska Canadian Highway. The road spans over 1,500 miles and ends in Fairbanks, AK. It’s hard to imagine as you ride down roads carved through an endless forest of pine-covered mountains, that a road could exist here; never mind the fact that it took only 8 months to complete the initial Alcan Highway in the early 1940’s. Pictures can neither describe the vastness nor the beauty of this country.

Our first day on the Alcan ended in a greasy little campground on the far end of Fort Nelson. Twenty one bucks a night, pay showers, and a small lumpy piece of ground. We would find out later the next day that just few dozen miles down the road was a quaint campground and restaurant – Tetsa River Outfitters. Fifteen bucks and free showers. Boy were we swindled! Did I also mention that they make the most deliciously enormous cinnamon buns? If you ever find yourself in Fort Nelson, do yourself a favor and stay with these nice people.

After our not-so-spectacular night of camping in Fort Nelson, we rode through some of the most beautiful mountain canyons you’d ever want to see. Rock sheep and Elk crossed the road regularly, making for interesting stop-start situations; not really a good thing when riding a motorcycle. The other part of this day’s adventure was the dust. Many sections of the roads on that days ride were gravel. Combine that with no rain, lots of cars and trucks, and you have a recipe for impermeable dust clouds. Larry and I were covered in dust after the twenty-some miles we traveled. The dust was so bad that, many times, we had to wait for an escort vehicle to guide us through the roads on direction at a time. Larry and I felt uneasy on the loose gravel mounds covering the road, but eventually made it safely onto the other side of the construction. Muncho lake, with it’s topaz blue waters, was worth all the dust in the world.

Day two of the Alcan ended at the Liard Hot springs Provincial Campground. At the end of a dusty day, there was nothing better than soaking in a pool of steaming hot water. If only it didn’t smell like sulfur. Well, you can’t win ‘em all!

Whereas day two was all about dust, day three involved a lot of smoke. As soon as we left our campsite at Liard, donating at least a pint of blood to the local mosquito population, we ran into what turned out to be a fairly sizable forest fire. We stopped for breakfast at an exit nearby and were told that over forty fire fighters needed to be fed – “Sorry, no breakfast for you”. We begged for coffee and ended up being fed anyway from the leftover pancake batter. Again, nice people up here, “eh”?

Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory is home to the “Sign Forest”. In 1942, a homesick soldier placed a sign here to indicate how far it was back to his home. One sign followed another, and at last count, there were well over 60,000 signs in the sign forest. Larry and I contributed our sign, met up with some travelers who we seem to keep running into, and moved on to put more miles under our belts.

It’s the end of our traveling day and I sit here at the Yukon Motel (and campground) in Teslin. Our campsite is the most idyllic campsites I have ever experienced. The backdrop to our tents is Lake Teslin and the mountains that border it. The wind is blowing gentle ripples over the water and the weather is the best it’s been the entire trip. Now if only my family were here. Six days and counting every minute…


  1. Contact me when you get to Fairbanks!!

  2. Wow! What a wonderful adventure you are having. It has been exciting being an armchair traveler with you guys!

  3. I thought driveing to florida from illinois was a long trip. Way to go!